Dharmagarh: Forty students of a private English medium school at Kutru here in Kalahandi district were made to stand for an hour under the scorching sun by the school authorities as they failed to deposit their school fees in time.
The school is based at Zion Nagar in Dharmagarh. The incident has spread shockwaves in the area and evoked sharp reactions from guardians.
This has come at a time when the state government has banned corporal punishment on school premises under Section 17(1) (2) of the Right to Education Act. Any breach is an offence and would invite punishment, the Act says.
School director Joy Kutti tried to play down the incident stating that many students had outstanding fees since last December over which the school authorities had informed their guardians.
District education officer Pradip Kumar Nag flayed the incident stating that stringent action will be taken after a probe.
Dharmagarh education officer Jogeshwar Mangaraj said he will seek clarification from the school authorities and take action as per law.
According to a complaint lodged with the DEO, the incident occurred after the students entered their classrooms Saturday to appear for their annual examinations which began March 1.
On being directed by the director, the teachers of respective classes conducted a verification of the students who defaulted on fees and found that over 40 students have not paid school fees for one or two months.
The kids were then asked to come out of their classrooms in the midst of the examination and were made to stand under the sun for over an hour. The school authorities even threatened the kids not to disclose the matter before their parents.
Even those who had deposited their fees were also made to stand with the defaulting students due to an error in updating their records.
A guardian Tapan Kumar Rout said the school authorities had punished his two daughters studying in class-III and class-VI respectively without sending him a reminder to deposit the fees which he had failed due to his preoccupation in other works.
He never received a phone call or letter from the school in this regard and questioned the rationality behind punishing the kids.
Another guardian Abja Padhi said he had been to Delhi for medical consultation for which he failed to deposit the fees in time. The school authorities instead of sending him a reminder made his daughter, studying in class-III, stand under the sun.
Another parent Sisir Kumar Meher said his son studying in class-II was also made to stand under the sun though he has cleared the fees of his son. The guardians have demanded stringent action against the school authorities.